Realtors Shift Focus to Key Global Issues at NYC Conference

John Jordan | November 21, 2022

From left, Steve Milgrom, business advocate for the New Jersey Business Action Center; Alexandra Daum, deputy commissioner, chief investment officer of the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development; Bridget Gibbons, director of economic development for Westchester County and HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty

NEW YORK—If the last few years have taught real estate practitioners anything, it is the old saying that “All real estate is local” is very short-sighted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine as key evidence, the influence of global events and trends play a critical part in the health of real estate in the New York region and the United States.

With that in mind, nine Realtor associations, including the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, held the 16th Annual Global Real Estate Summit on Oct. 20 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The day-long event was filled with cutting-edge programming that included presentations on: “Emerging Trends in Architecture & Design: Passive House Design & Smart Buildings,” “Global Tax Issues,” “Industry Insights in the Global Commercial Market,” “Tri-State Economic Development Initiatives Update,” “Foreign Visas, Opportunity Zones, EB-5,” “Building Global Strategic Partnerships,” “Digital Technologies, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & the Metaverse,” as well as an informative and stirring keynote speech by Greg Lindsay, chief communications officer of Climate Alpha on “Utopia, Dystopia and Everything in Between.”

The sponsors of the Global Real Estate Summit were: the Brooklyn MLS, Connecticut Realtors, Greater Bergen Realtors, the Greenwich (CT) Association of Realtors, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, the North Central Jersey Association of Realtors, the Staten Island Board of Realtors, Inc., the New York State Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Supporting associations were the Liberty Board of Realtors and the Long Island Board of Realtors.

Tony D’Anzica, HGAR President Elect and Global Business Council Co-Chair

Chief officials of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors were keenly involved in the programming, with HGAR President-elect and co-chair of the Global Council Committee Tony D’Anzica offering opening remarks as well as serving as moderator for the Emerging Trends in Architecture panel discussion. 2022 HGAR President Anthony Domathoti moderated the Industry Insights in the Global Commercial Market, while HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty moderated the Tri-State Economic Development Initiatives Update program.

Some of the many takeaways from the Global Real Estate Conference were:

Jeffrey Berman, licensed real estate broker, commercial division with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New York Properties, a panelist on the Commercial Markets panel, said the “jury is still out” on the impact of corporate return to work programs on the New York City area market.

“Many of the employees have moved, not only outside of the five boroughs, but they have moved outside of the metropolitan area and they have moved across the country because the virtual work has allowed them to do that,” Berman said. “As these companies require people to come back to work, there is going to be an interesting dilemma on whether those people return or if they are replaced?”

Berman predicted that the strongest commercial sector will continue to be the industrial market, while he believes that office market will start to rebound in the coming months. Raymond Chan, broker of record for Warwick Realty Group in Toronto, said the growth markets will continue to be industrial, office and apartment sectors, while headwinds will remain for the retail industry.

Samuel I. Mizrahi, associate broker with Century 21 Mizrahi Realty in Brooklyn, said, “Multifamily is growing very rapidly and I think that will be a very strong market in the next two or three years,” he said. However, he believes that despite its current troubles, retail will rebound.

From Left: Representing the Global Summit Host and Supporting Associations, Alejandro Escudero, Director, Global Strategy, Engagement, National Associtaion of REALTORS®, Sharon von Schoenber, Manager, Global Strategy and Relations, Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Anthony Domathoti, President, HGAR Richard Haggerty, CEO, HGAR Harriet Robinson, President, Brooklyn Board of REALTORS®, Tony D’Anzica, President Elect and Co-Chair, Global Business Council, HGAR, Brid Mortamais, Chairperson, International Committee, Greenwich Association of REALTORS®, Bryan Tunney, President, Greenwich Association of REALTORS®, Bill Flagg, President, North Central Jersey Association of REALTORS®, David Bennett, CEO, Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and Jorge Ledesman, CEO, Greater Bergen REALTORS®.

The key takeaway from the Tri-State Economic Development Initiatives Update panel discussion is that business investment interest in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is strong, despite the current economic climate. The panel featured Bridget Gibbons, director of economic development for Westchester County; Alexandra Daum, deputy commissioner, chief investment officer of the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development and Steve Milgrom, business advocate for the New Jersey Business Action Center.

All spoke of the strong multifamily, life sciences and film industry sectors in their respective markets. Gibbons explained, “I think businesses don’t locate in Westchester or expand in Westchester because it is inexpensive, they do because of proximity (to New York City), our workforce, lifestyle, quality of life and the many other amenities we have.”

She noted that while Westchester County has a shortage of apartments for its workforce, there is a pipeline of 13,000 units combined to be developed in the cities of New Rochelle and White Plains.

All of the economic development officials said they do expect future interest in their locations due to the massive federal investment from the $280-billion Chips and Science Act that has prompted significant investment already in New York State by Micron ($100 billion) and IBM ($20 billion). However, all said that while they have seen some interest, no major deals were in the offing as yet.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth